Early this morning, President Trump created a Twitterstorm by tweeting the non-existent word “covfefe” — which has led people to question the validity of his following on the popular microblog platform.
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
The folks at TheNextWeb were eager to determine how many fake followers the president had:
Pages upon pages look just like this: recently created (this month), no profile image, and lack of a bio or cover photo. Of Trump’s 31-million followers, in fact, nearly half of them seem to be fake. According to Twitter Audit, an online service to check for fake followers, Trump is towing the phony follower line: just 51-percent of his followers are legit.
A Twitter representative, however, disputed Twitter Audit’s methodology, by calling it “very flawed.”
“He didn’t gain three million followers at all,” said Twitter spokesman Nicholas Pacilio. “Many, many, many users don’t tweet ever. But they are real people who log on every day.”
President Trump isn’t the only one immune to fake Twitter followers. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s Twitter account has 32 percent of fake followers. His predecessor President Barack Obama faced similar scrutiny over having a huge chunk of fake followers. In August 2012, a Twitter tool determined that 70% of of then-POTUS Barack Obama’s account, @POTUS, comprised “fake followers.” (The New York Times also confirmed 70 percent of his followers were fake at the time.) A similar audit in September 2013 by StatusPeople found the following about the community organizer-in-chief’s Twitter account:
Of the president’s 36.9 million Twitter followers, an astonishing 53 percent – or 19.5 million – are fake accounts, according to a search engine at the Internet research vendor StatusPeople.com. Just 20 per cent of Obama’s Twitter buddies are real people who are active users.
A joint study from University of Southern California and Indiana University revealed that 15 percent of all Twitter users are fake, so nobody–politician or not–is immune to spam bots (unless they purposely buy fake followers).
Nevertheless, if it turns out Trump or Obama bought their followers at one point, that move shouldn’t be celebrated. Buying followers is a huge cop-out and shows that you aren’t interested in investing time into growing your social media accounts the honest way.
Does this finding justify Trump’s erratic Twitter behavior? No. Both major political parties aren’t immune to fake followers. There are scammers and Twitter bot applications eager to hijack inactive accounts or disrupt flow on the platform. If leftists are keen on attacking Trump’s Twitter follower count, perhaps they need to examine their own too.